2x IVHQ volunteer Samantha Wallace from Texas shares how she fundraised her way to volunteer in Madagascar, and how you can too..
Exploring new lands, experiencing new cultures, trying different foods and making memories that will stay with me forever. This is what travel is. I always think to myself “So many places to see! So much to do! Where should I go?! …what can I afford?”
Money should never stop you from going on a grand adventure. Many people think they cannot travel because it’s too expensive. I heard this many times from many people, that they wanted to travel but never could afford to do so. I don’t want to be one of those people with that same story, I want to one day be that person that can recommend places to travel to because I have seen it all! However, I still knew that travelling requires money, so how exactly was I going to get the money to make my dream come true?
I first picked one of the many enticing places to volunteer from the IVHQ website. I set my mind on Madagascar, volunteering in forest conservation on this beautiful remote land for 3 months was what my grand adventure was going to be and I was going to get there one way or another. I picked up more shifts at work, I stopped eating out at restaurants, I had a yard sale to make some extra cash, but I still could not make enough for my grand adventure. How was I going to get there?! It was clear I had to choose a more affordable location; with cheaper flights and maybe one day my dream of going to the land of Lemurs would come true.
Just when I was ready to have to choose a different destination, I saw on the IVHQ website that they recommended online crowdfunding, I read up on it and thought to myself - well it can’t hurt to give it go, I guess. Thrilled with the hope that maybe just maybe I was going to be able to go on my adventure, I spent that evening creating my profile, explaining my story and my dream of wanting to volunteer in Madagascar, I set my profile picture and it was ready to go!
The process of setting all this up was so easy and fun, I got to customize it in every way. While you’re creating your profile, they give you tips on how to better your chances of receiving donations, one of the things they recommend that I included on my profile were to offer incentives. For example for anyone who donated a generous $100, I sent them a post card from Madagascar. Over the next few weeks I sent the link to my crowdfunding profile to friends, family, those people I met once in that place, with those things…bottom line was I sent it to everyone I knew! I was able to easily share my profile on social outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I asked friends to advertise my crowdfunding profile and my parents sent my link out to all their friends who last saw me when I was still in diapers; the worst that can happen is people don’t give, that’s it. You don’t have to call anyone on the phone or speak with anyone in person, it’s as simple as posting your link on Facebook, sending a few emails and watching the donations roll in.
I was so surprised by how generous everyone was, it was truly amazing. Within about 6 weeks I had $1,100, plenty of money to pay for my flights and any other expenses I had! My grand adventure was going to happen after all!
Volunteering in Madagascar was a life-changing trip. I made friendships that will last a lifetime, fell in love with the rainforest and all its beautiful creatures and my boyfriend asked me to marry him there on a black sand beach. The beautiful memories I created in Madagascar would never happened if it weren’t for the incredibly helpful crowdfunding website and the generosity of all my family and friends. I recommend anyone who wants to go on their own grand adventure to create a online crowdfunding profile, you have nothing to lose and only donations, knowledge and experiences to gain. So go! Set your mind on a location, work hard to make it happen and be willing to let people help you along the way.
For more ideas on how to fundraise for your volunteer trip abroad, visit our fundraising tips page.